|In Pursuit of Science and Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes (UNU, 1995, 286 p.)|
There have been many studies of the effects of the Structural Adjustment Programmes on the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but, almost without exception, they have concentrated on the macro-economics: effects on government revenues and expenditures, imports, exports and the balance of payments; and output, income and growth. The effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes on smaller units of the countries' economies sectors and on smaller units still - have been very few. Yet it is the smaller units in the economies - the organizations and individuals - which bear the costs of adjustment and which derive the benefits. The macro-economic changes are just the statistical summaries of the micro-economic adjustments.
It is, therefore, appropriate that there should now be micro-economic studies of the effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes; and it seems, to us at least, particularly appropriate that one of these studies should address, albeit at one remove, the future that the programmes are designed to ameliorate. That future will be influenced greatly by the technical progress that the Sub-Saharan African countries are able to achieve. And that progress will be greatly influenced by their relative success in advancing their science and technology.
That their advance starts from a pitifully low platform is one of the facts that emerges from our study: countries whose current spending on advancing science and technology, so defined as to include not only formal R&D, but also informal R&D, and technical education and training, should not surpass a few US dollars per capita, are securing little advance. Countries whose current incomes and expenditures are so low are little equipped to shift substantial resources into achieving more rapid advance of science and technology.
It was within such a depressing context that the Institute for New Technologies (UNU/INTECH), one of the research institutes of the United Nations University, decided to investigate the current situation and future prospects for pursuing science and technology in Sub-Saharan Africa. The idea came from UNU/INTECH's Director, Professor Charles Cooper, and the task was assigned to us. In order to be able, within the time and research funds available, to penetrate sufficiently deeply into the subject, we decided to concentrate on four anglophone countries' experiences: one country selected from West Africa - Ghana - and three from East Africa Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. What follows are their stories, augmented with occasional incidents from their Sub-Saharan neighbours.
The first of our accomplishments, and it is no minor one, is a statistical one. We have been able to compile time series of the four countries' expenditures on advancing science and technology, covering a span of at least several years, up to the present, which include periods before and after Structural Adjustment Programmes took effect. These time series measure aggregate expenditures on advancing science and technology, and are further broken down into those expenditures on formal R&D and technical education and training; and into expenditures by sector (public vs private; agriculture vs industry vs services; and domestically financed vs financed from abroad).
Armed with these various measures of the extent of pursuit of science and technology we embarked upon their analysis, in addressing those questions that seemed to us to be most important. Theory suggested that we examine the efficiency with which R&D is carried out, the transferability of scientific and technical resources from one activity to another and, most significantly, the directions in which advances are channelled. Present concern suggested that we examine the rates at which resources are allocated to the various activities, what institutions are engaged in providing those resources, and who make the choices that decide the outcomes. Our findings appear in the various chapters of the text, and our policy recommendations, based upon these findings, appear in its last chapter.
Performing a task such as this was well beyond the capability of a single individual. Besides the advice and criticism of Professor Cooper we sought those invaluable aids to inquiry from Professor Sam Wangwe at UNU/INTECH, and from all their able and solicitous colleagues. In carrying out the field work we profited in Kenya from the assistance of Mohammed Mwamadzingo, now of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex; in Tanzania from introductions to leaders of research institutes and of the University of Dar es Salaam by Dr S. Nyantahe; and in Uganda from Mr Alan Whitworth and his colleagues at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. In Ghana, M. Gebril Mersha single-handedly gathered the data, doing a splendid job. The staff of the UNDP offices in the capital cities were most helpful in enabling us to make the best use of our limited time and in bringing to our attention their detailed compilations of statistics on foreign donations in Kenya and Tanzania. Finally, our thanks must deservedly go to the directors of the research institutes and advisory bodies in the four countries and to their associates; to the Vice-Chancellors and their faculties in the universities and to the directors and their staff in the technical colleges; to the administrators in the government ministries; and to businessmen and consultants in the private sector. That all these men and women should have gone to so much trouble to give us guidance and support has made our study more enjoyable. They all enabled us to eliminate many errors; any that do remain, in spite of their efforts, are our responsibility alone.
Magdalen College, Oxford